Greeting people is something we all do on a daily basis. From informal to formal, greetings usually precede most conversations. You most likely have greeted someone today, or maybe someone greeted you. You must have been part of some form of greeting today already if I’m not mistaken.
It is human nature to exchange some type of greeting first, before any other thing, no matter how serious or unserious the greeting may be.
We exchange greetings in so many ways such as in person, on the phone, on social media, with cards or even from afar with just a simple wave of the hand.
Different countries, cultures, and traditions have acceptable ways of greeting. A particular greeting in one language may sound offensive in another. Still, this is understandable because there are so many languages and most definitely, words could clash.
For instance, “fart” in English means to pass gas. But in Polish, it means “good luck” and in Swedish, it means “speed”. The word “gift” means “poison” in German and Norwegian. If you say the word “home” in Finnish, you’d be referring to “mold”.
So, imagine someone from Poland trying to tell an American “good luck”. The American will probably think he’s asking him to pass gas because he’d say “fart”.
What about an English man telling a German “I have a gift for you”. The German might think he’s offering him poison.
If you ask someone from Finland, “How’s your home?”, he’d think you’re asking him how his “mold” is doing.
This is okay because it’s just a clash of words in different languages which of course, is inevitable.
What concerns me, however, is when people speak the same language but still decide to say something offensive in the name of a greeting. The most annoying is when you get upset, they end up saying they didn’t mean it, they were only “joking.”
Yesterday evening, I met a woman I had not seen for a while. She was the first to call my attention. She said something like “Aye”, and I turned around to see her. I started smiling and quickly greeted “Good evening Ma!” I was really concerned about her because I had not seen her in a while. I waited for her to answer my greeting and planned to ask her how she was doing after she replied.
Unfortunately for me, the first reply I got was; “You are looking so fat oh. You have really added weight.”
Trying hard not to say something unpleasant, I replied; “At least, let’s greet first before anything.” She replied; “Okay, good evening (in a very trouble-looking tone), but I just saw you and noticed you have really put on weight, you are fatter now.”
I was still trying hard to hold myself, I said: “As long as I am alive and well, I thank God”. And the conversation continued thus:
Her: “Ehn, but still, you have to watch your weight, you have to take care of yourself and reduce.”
Me: “Are you aware that I just had a baby?” (Feeling really disgusted).
Her: “Since when? (snapping her fingers to emphasize the ‘since when’). Since six months ago, by now you should have come down. It’s now that you are breastfeeding that you need to watch your weight, tie your tummy and reduce if not, you will not be able to reduce later.”
Me: Hmn! (Turned my face away from her and faced the opposite direction and continued talking to my son).
Her: Bla, blah, blah, (Indistinct chatter, because at this point, I became totally deaf to her.)
She finished saying whatever she was saying without me even knowing if she still existed or not, and she went away when she couldn’t get my attention anymore.
Thank God I have confidence in myself and nothing like this can move me or make me feel bad about my body or myself. I appreciate my body and I clap for it for everything it went through to enable me to give birth to two beautiful kids, both through Cesarean Sections.
But then, what gives you the right to stand there and describe my body in an offensive way just because I wanted to greet you?
What of people that are not emotionally strong? What if she said that to a woman who has been battling body confidence and self-esteem? If I was battling depression and she said that to me, it could have been worse and it would have definitely affected me badly.
There are so many different ways to greet or exchange pleasantries. In fact, more than enough options are available to choose from. What I don’t understand is why the first thing some people do when they meet you is to point something out or make a careless statement about something they feel it’s their duty to tell you.
For instance, they go:
- “You have gained so much weight.”
- “It’s like you have leaned down.”
- “Why are you looking fatter?”
- “You are enjoying oh, see how you are looking chopped up.”
- “The pimples on your face look bigger, why?”
- “See as you fresh, you no get wahala at all.” (In Pidgin English)
- “Why are you looking black like this?”
It is understandable that we are close enough to certain people and because of that, we could say anything and it wouldn’t be taken as an offensive greeting. But that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone. I have a few friends that I can say anything I like and they can also talk however they want with me.
Isn’t greeting people supposed to be a way to find out how people are doing and also to wish them well? Is it supposed to be a way to question why something is in a certain way, a statement to point something out or a matter of fact?
Instead of making the person feel good, you leave them feeling bad, uncomfortable or uneasy. In my opinion, a greeting should have the effect of uplifting people, making them feel a bit brighter and not to leave them worse off than how they were before seeing you.
Whenever it’s time to greet someone, I don’t think it would be that bad if we tried saying things like:
- “Good day. How do you do?”
- “How are you feeling today?”
- “How are you this morning?”
- “It’s been a while, good to see you.”
- “When was the last time we saw each other?”
- “Pleased to meet you.”
- “Hope you’re well?”
- “Good morning.”
Was that so bad? Was it that difficult or unusual? Will that hurt? No. Neither will it take away anything from anyone. I have made up my mind to be an uplifter and not someone who puts people down. I don’t want to be the one who spoils someone’s day or take away somebody’s smile.
What will I gain if someone becomes bitter after meeting me? It doesn’t make my day any better. It is true that if we don’t have anything good to say, we should not say anything at all.
Keep your greetings sweet and warm, and if possible, short. Don’t go out there and start discussing people’s bodies because their bodies are their bodies, it is not for you to share.
I would simply ignore them while they flap your lips aimlessly and that’s only because I’ve learned not to get upset when they insult me. But don’t be deceived because if it gets out of hand, I will bring them to order in the appropriate manner.
Uplift someone with your greetings today!
That’s it, folks. Now, comment below on what you think about this.🤔 I would love to hear.
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